1 Jan 2017–31 Dec 2021
University of Helsinki
Anu Wartiovaara is a clinical scientist who specialises in mitochondrial research.
Mitochondrial diseases are a heterogeneous group of rare disorders caused by dysfunctions in mitochondria, the energy-producing organelles of cells. These dysfunctions produce different clinical symptoms in different patients, ranging from early-onset multiorgan autoimmune diseases to adult-onset neurodegeneration, diabetes or deafness. Mitochondrial dysfunction also affects major public health problems such as cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, musculoskeletal diseases and heart diseases.
Anu Wartiovaara’s research is focused on studying a particular subcategory of mitochondrial diseases,where mutations in certain genes threaten the intactness of mitochondrial DNA. In children, the disease causes serious brain and liver damage, and in adults muscle diseases.
During her Academy Professorship, Wartiovaara’s main focus will be on mechanisms of communication within cells and mitochondria and their interactions in different tissues on a larger scale. The project has the potential to take research in this field in a whole new direction away from the mainstream, and it can also open significant opportunities for the treatment and diagnosis of mitochondrial diseases.